Alumni & Giving

Meet Our Alumni

Alumni of our undergraduate and graduate degree programs have gone on to rewarding and successful careers in a variety of fields including teaching, researching, writing, advocacy, civil service, and business. Take a moment to meet some of our outstanding alumni, below.


Tony Saavedra

Tony Saavedra. M.A.

Social Studies Teacher

Cleveland Humanities Magnet High School

Los Angeles Unified School District

As an undergraduate and graduate student in CSUN’s history department, I developed a passion for history. I am indebted to my outstanding professors for nurturing this passion. As a high school history teacher, I use what I learned at CSUN every day, and I hope to instill in my students an appreciation of history and an understanding of its impact on our present. My education at CSUN prepared me for the difficult work of creating a curriculum for my students. I learned how to tell stories and to make history come alive for students. I also realized the importance of being a life-long learner. I will forever be grateful for the education I gained through the CSUN history department.

Esperanza Sanchez

Esperanza Sanchez, M.A

Curatorial Assistant

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes

I have the fondest memories as an undergraduate and graduate student in the history program at CSUN. The professors and administrators in the department are friendly, helpful, creative, intelligent, enthusiastic, and passionate in assisting students to complete their education, build a professional career, and establish essential skills as historians. The history program helped me develop investigative and logical skills to interpret primary and secondary resources. As a history major, I learned how to research, write, interview, and present truthful narratives. I continue to use these analytical skills to advance the development of public history exhibitions on silent voices from marginalized communities of people of color.

Sarah Campbell

Sarah Campbell. B.A

Student Account Manager

Surety Department

Lockton Insurance Brokers, LLC

My very first impression of the History Department was a welcoming and inviting nature of the entire staff. As a freshman, that’s kind of a big deal. I thought perhaps it was just a fluke, but it translated into each and every class: the department was like a family. Within those classes, I loved the creative methods that some of my professors took in making sure that we not only learned the material, but that we liked it as well – to ensure that we would remember the lessons long after the final exam. These lessons ultimately guided me throughout my professional life in that I am able to write, research and read materials with a discerning eye and, perhaps most importantly, think critically.

Courtney Dyer

Courtney Dyer. B.A.

Law Student

Pepperdine School of Law

As an undergraduate at CSUN, I chose to major in History because I was passionate about the subject and unsure of my future career. The outstanding professors in the History Department, and how each one cared for their students, amazed me. The small class sizes allowed me to connect with other students and my professors, and that helped me to develop my communication skills as well as my research and writing skills. As a law student, my history classes helped prepare me for the intense reading and writing aspects of law school. I learned how to efficiently and effectively research as well as organize my writing. As a law student, my education through the history department has prepared me to effectively manage my time, present arguments, write memos and become a junior staffer on the Dispute Resolution Law Journal. I will forever cherish my time as a history major because without these skills, law school would have

Jordan Brooks

Jordan Brooks, B.A

Behavioral Therapist Traniee

A Change in Trajectory (ACT)

When I joined the CSUN History Department for my BA degree, I quickly discovered that this was a place for growth. It is a small department with professors who have a passion for history, teaching, and compassion for their students. When I was Vice- President of the History Club, the Department supported the club with rooms and supplies to run our events, and we collaborated in bringing together a history community. The professors helped me realize and develop my love for history and taught me a variety of skills that I still carry to this day. These include debating, teaching, reading comprehension, professional writing, and being able to check my own bias, which is the foundation to critical thinking and thus the right direction in compiling and presenting truthful narratives. It made me realize that I want to become a history professor. Currently I am training to become a behavioral therapist to help people with special needs develop skills and behaviors that will help them live more independently. My background in history helped me get this job. Because of the connections I made with various professors from the History Department, I am currently applying for an MA program specializing in war and society and the ideologies related to it.

Cate Thurston

Cate Thurston M.A

Associate Curator

Skirball Cultural Center

As an undergraduate, I didn’t think too much about what jobs I could get with a history degree. I studied American History because I enjoyed the subject and my parents wanted me to go to law school, so the major seemed like a good choice. After graduation I realized the study of law was not for me and I began to think about alternative careers. I discovered museum work through a post-graduate internship and quickly discovered that museum work was the perfect match for me; here was a field where my people skills (I was the kid who talked too much in elementary school) and research interests blended perfectly. CSUN was the only graduate program to which I applied. CSUN’s professors nurtured my interest in Public History and helped me develop the professional skills needed to become a Museum Curator. The program’s emphasis on writing and professional experience helped me build up my resume, and after receiving my CSUN graduate degree I was offered a curatorial position here in Los Angeles. I feel very lucky to earn a living doing something I love, and I have CSUN to thank for that.

Read the New York Times article: "The Jewish Deli: An American Tale Told in Pickles and Pastrami" about an exhibit that Cate co-curated at the Skirball Museum.

Samantha Isabel Ceja

Samantha Isabel Ceja. B.A

M.A Candidate

CSUSJ. Library and Information Science

As an alumna of CSUN's History department, I have learned how to become a better writer and researcher, and have discovered a passion for the archival profession. The internship program connected me with my first position as an archival intern for the Los Angeles Public Library Photo collection in 2018. Building on this experience, I worked as an intern during the summer of 2019 at The Getty Center for the Getty Research Institute through its Marrow Undergraduate Internship program. This program offers internship experience to students from underrepresented communities and diverse backgrounds. I am currently continuing my education at San Jose State University in the Master of Library and Information Sciences online program with the goal of becoming an archivist. With the help of CSUN's History department I learned the value of primary sources, historical preservation, and archives.

Austin Matelson

Austin Matelson B.A., M.A. AKA Luchasaurus

American Wrestler and TV Personality

All Elite Wrestling : Big Brother Season 17

Although physicality is the first characteristic one would connect with wrestling, I found my CSUN education made a significant impact on my career. I arrived at CSUN somewhat an introvert after being home-schooled. I found that history classes aligned with my interests, particularly medieval history taught by Dr. Clementine Oliver. Dr. Oliver and I connected, and she has had a lasting impact on me. Being a part of the History department was fun, and I always felt so much at home. As I excelled in my studies and was “getting it,” it made my course work all the more exciting. As a student of history, I learned a different way of approaching a topic and an argument, and found new ways of using my brain. Historians learn how to write history, and how to interpret things without truth. This is where my wresting career connects with my education: wrestling is the ultimate non-truth. It’s performance - half-pretending and half-real. There is a lot of analyzing of the character Iplay in so far as how to perform in front of a crowd and how to get the spectators to react a certain way. As a wrestler, you are telling a story just as a historian tells a story. There’s a lot of correlation between the way your approach a character and an analytical point of view.

Oshae C. Rodgers

Oshae C. Rodgers, B.A.

M.Ed. Candidate

University of California, Los Angeles

From an early age, I have felt that if I don’t know my history, then I don’t know my soul. I need to understand how we all connect, because everything that happened in the past is influencing us now. And, if we want to understand now and how to move forward, then we need to understand the past. CSUN was the first school where I felt connected and seen as an individual and not just a number. Initially, an advisor sat down with me and really looked at what I achieved thus far, and helped me develop the best course for my future. This belonging and individual attention continued in my studies as a student in the History department. From my relationship with various professors and my mentor, Dr. Fitzpatrick Behrens, to my role as a mentor to other students, the History department was an environment where I shaped my identity as a scholar while assisting others in developing theirs. Currently, I am writing a book and attending the Masters of Education program at UCLA. I am also earning my teaching credential. After I graduate, I plan to teach middle and high school students, and eventually teach at the college level.


Distinguished Alumni Lecture

The History Department has established the annual Distinguished History Alumni Award, given to an individual who graduated at least 25 years ago, and who has had a successful career in his or her chosen field. The award will be made at a reception where the recipient will speak about the evolution of his or her profession, and how the study of history contributed to his or her success.

The first recipient is William Dallas Bethea, class of 1969, who is Captain, United States Navy (Retired).

In 1988, Captain Bethea, in command of the guided-missile frigate USS GARY, encountered a challenge no US naval officer had faced in 40 years: engagement in surface combat with an armed enemy equipped with anti-ship missiles.

Get in Touch

We love to hear from our alumni! Please let us know what you are up to. If you live in the area, you might be interested in attending our public events like the Whitsett Lecture and the Valley Pioneer lecture. The Department also has events specifically for alumni, which are usually held on weekends.

Make a Gift to the History Department